Where a Bright Future Begins

Sunset Mesa Academic Preschool

Give Your Child A Soaring Start

Sunset Mesa gives students a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning.

Montessori & Early Childhood Classrooms

We make school an engaging and fun place to learn. A student-teacher ratio of 8:1, and no more than 16 in a class, allows each child to receive personal attention.

Experienced & Degreed Teachers

Our teachers are proficient in early childhood development and education allowing your child to receive outstanding attention, instruction and opportunities.

A Flexible Schedule

To meet the needs of you and your child, you can choose to attend Full Day or Half Day, and be 5 days a week or 3 days a week. Before and after school care is available from 7am to 6pm.

Preschool Summer Programs are designed just for three, four, and five-year-olds.

A Beautiful Campus

Sunset Mesa has the campus your child deserves. Our Garden of Tomorrow classroom gives children an opportunity to be outside where they can learn about and explore nature.

360º Classroom Experience

Experience Our Preschool Classrooms

Preschool Curriculum

Where a Bright Future Begins

No two children are alike. As varied as the world around us, so are children and the way they learn. Our approach is to make school a safe place to grow and a personal place to learn.  Here, children learn about being in school with an instructor and how to operate in a classroom environment. 

Early Childhood Classrooms

2 ½ , 3, and 4 year olds placed in classrooms by age

Teacher directed, theme-based instruction including phonics, math, and science. Students participate in intentional play with peers to help foster social growth, fine motor development, and school readiness.

In the Early Childhood Program, our teachers design activities which foster healthy social skills and encourage academic success through developmentally appropriate challenges. The importance of children learning through play is carefully designed into the program. Under the guidance of degreed, nurturing, positive teachers, children are given numerous opportunities to construct their learning through a combination of teacher-directed and open-ended activities. One of the goals is to help the children develop the discipline to learn, mature and enjoy.  Students are exposed to phonics fostering pre-reading skills, math, science, art, social studies, music, early handwriting and language development.

Teacher-Directed Activities

The Early Childhood Program is directed by a teacher who encourages academic success and developmentally appropriate challenges.

Open-Ended Activities

Students are given flexible activities that encourage play and discovery.


  • Foster healthy social skills
  • Develop the discipline to learn


  • Phonics fostering pre-reading skills
  • Math
  • Science
  • Art
  • Social studies
  • Music
  • Early handwriting
  • Language development

Montessori Classrooms

Mixed age group of 2 ½, 3, and 4 year olds

Teacher guided, student driven learning using Montessori materials designed for this age group and development.  Independence is fostered so students can transition throughout the classroom.

Montessori Classrooms

Mixed age group of 2 ½, 3, and 4 year olds

Teacher guided, student driven learning using Montessori materials designed for this age group and development.  Independence is fostered so students can transition throughout the classroom.

In the Montessori Program, children develop independence, determination, and concentration as they interact with materials designed to stimulate the “inner urge” of the child to learn. Socially, they develop the respect and discipline to share materials and to help each other as they learn side-by-side. Each teacher is a certified Montessori instructor and brings to the program the traditional Montessori philosophies enhanced with current educational practices. Students are exposed to phonics, fostering pre-reading skills, math, science, art, social studies, music, appropriate early handwriting and language development.

Independent Learning & Play

The Montessori Program helps children develop independence, determination, and concentration as they interact with materials designed to help them learn.

Social Character

Students develop respect and discipline to share materials and help each other learn.


  • Develop indendepent learning
  • Foster healthy social skills


  • Phonics fostering pre-reading skills
  • Math
  • Science
  • Art
  • Social studies
  • Music
  • Early handwriting
  • Language development

Early Literacy is Fostered

Even before kindergarten, we cultivate in children a love of reading and writing with age-appropriate group and individual activities tailored to each child.

A Flexible Schedule

We’ve designed a variety of schedules for families to choose what works best.

5 Full Days

8:10-2:50 PM | Mon-Fri

5 Half Days

8:10-12:15 PM | Mon-Fri

3 Full Days

8:10-2:50 PM | Mon, Wed, Fri

3 full & 2 half days

8:10-2:50 PM | Mon, Wed, Fri

8:10-12:15 PM | Tue, Thu

Depending on your child’s needs and the family’s schedule, our preschoolers can attend school for 5 full days or 5 half days. The next option is 3 full days or 3 full days and 2 half days.

Our admissions directors and teachers will work with parents to determine what is the best option for you and your child. 

A Delightful Place To Be

Garden of Tomorrow

Children explore the wonders of our natural world with outdoor activities and play.

Vibrant Classrooms

Both Early Childhood and Montessori Programs feature classrooms designed to stimultate learning. 

Engaging Playgrounds

Children increase their skills and stamina through whole and small group activities on the playground.

Play is Intentional

Through play, children experiment and understand their world. Our play is purposeful, incorporating skill development within each activity.

Nurturing a Love of Learning

Preschool is a time of discovery and wonder—and we’ve structured learning and skill development around this goal for a lifelong love of learning.


Join the Sunset Mesa Community

We understand that these are precious and formative years for children. We are dedicated and honored to provide each student with exceptional academic instruction and experiences to help build a bright future for your children and your family. 

See What the Buzz Is All About

360º Classroom Experience

In-Person Visit

Contact Our Office

(505) 298-7626

Kateland North
Director of Admission

Nicole Maxwell
Preschool Director

Alan Mask

Deborah Mask
Executive Director

Academic Preschool FAQs

How do I know if this school is a match for my child and my family?

You need to know your child, know yourself, and know the school. Here are some key facts about Sunset Mesa that can help you decide your answer to this question. Two of the traditional values instilled at Sunset Mesa are respect and cooperating with friends. These combine to create an enjoyable and orderly learning environment. In the preschool years, we work in earnest to help children achieve these goals.

At Sunset Mesa, healthy early childhood development is important. Academics are also important. We blend the two so that learning happens through activities that are engaging, intentional, and developmentally appropriate. We will make the most of each day with your child.

Families also must be willing to invest their time in order to maximize the opportunities at Sunset Mesa. We partner with our families in the way we share information and ask for participation in the goals set for the children. We ask families to help the children become independent, develop positive behavior, and support our activities by helping with occasional projects, volunteering for special events, attending programs and activities, and by participating in meetings and conferences.

What is the maximum class size for each grade level?

Preschool: 16 with 1 teacher and 1 assistant

Kindergarten: 16 with 1 teacher and 1 assistant

1st Grade: 16

2nd Grade: 18

3rd, 4th, and 5th Grade: 20

What is the school’s expectation for students’ behavior and how is discipline implemented?

Sunset Mesa makes every effort to maintain a standard of respect, kindness, morality, and honesty.  The basic method of accomplishing this is by creating a positive learning environment in which students are respectful of authority and responsible for their actions. The Sunset Mesa discipline philosophy encourages self-respect, self-discipline, cooperation, good behavior, and development of problem-solving skills.

All staff members who work directly with children are required to complete the assigned reading and attend trainings on Positive Discipline (Nelsen, 2007).

How do I know my child will be physically and emotionally safe?

The preschool campus has a single building with a walled playground and entry points which are only unlocked at dismissal and arrival times.  During school hours, visitors are screened before allowed into the building.

Students are dismissed directly from a teacher to a parent or someone authorized by a parent. Children are always supervised.

Adults model and teach that people should respect and care for one another. Administrators and faculty devote significant time and energy to developing a sense of community and friendship among students; as a result, students can feel physically and emotionally safe among their peers.

Staff is professionally trained to respond to a variety of emergency situations.

What sets your school’s use of curriculum apart from that of other schools?

Early Childhood teachers have degrees. Montessori teachers are AMS certifed. Whether Early Childhood or
Montessori, each student will receive the same opportunities for learning and growth in language arts, math, STEM,
physical education, music, fine motor, and much more.

High quality curriculum is developed to provide foundational skills, as well as, opportunities for teachers to challenge
students The school makes a significant investment in curriculum training for teachers to enhance their skills.

Teachers and administrators work diligently to have a continuity of curricular implementation from preschool through
5th grade.

Teachers provide classroom environments and experiences that recognize and utilize each child’s unique learning style
through the methods of differentiated instruction. All staff have been trained using Carol Tomlinson’s Practice of
Differentiated Instruction.

How is the curriculum enriched?

Play and exercise are key to great education and childhood is not sacrificed. Our children have plenty of recess time on our beautiful, well-equipped playground.

Children receive Spanish, Music, and Get Fit throughout the week.

STEAM is an area of focus where teachers provide multiple cross-curricular opportunities for learning and emphasize higher-level thinking skills. The Garden of Tomorrow becomes the backdrop for many STEM activities as well as developing a love of nature.

How can families be involved and informed?

We have an open-door policy and welcome your questions and thoughts. Each preschool teacher uses Microsoft Teams to post daily events
and curriculum goals for the classroom. Additionally, teachers post newsletters, events, pictures of your child’s day.

Our school website is a wealth of information and the school offices send parent alerts, email announcements and reminders.

Parents are welcomed to join the Sunset Mesa Parent Association, an organization designed by parents to support the school in
providing their children with a quality education along with helping to foster a community network for the school’s

Parents can volunteer in classrooms for special projects, community events, and to make special presentations in their
fields of expertise.

How does the preschool assess students?

On a daily basis, teachers use an array of standard-based assessment techniques that give them a broad understanding of
each child’s strengths, challenges, and interests. The Director meets regularly with the teachers to review student assessments and determine best strategies as needed.

Parents receive report cards at the end of each trimester, attend two parent-teacher conferences, and are encouraged to communicate regularly with the teacher. Additional conferences may be scheduled by parents or the teacher if additional communication is needed between conferences.

How can I be confident that my child will be ready for Kindergarten?

The preschool director and teachers work closely with the elementary principal and kindergarten teachers to set ideal
expectations for incoming Sunset Mesa kindergarten students, known as one of the highest caliber kindergarten
programs in the city. Our Pre-K students are exceptionally well prepared emotionally, socially, and academically for the transition to elementary school.

In both the Early Childhood and Montessori programs,  our preschool teachers introduce kindergarten-style activities during
the last trimester.

Pre-K and kindergarten teachers meet prior to the fall semester to discuss each student so that the transition is smooth and enjoyable for each student.

What is the financial cost of attending preschool? What fundrasing does your school do?

The tuition that families pay covers all academic all costs is tuition is set based how often your child attends, for instance full day, 3 days a week, etc.   Sunset Mesa makes no separate charges for instructional materials, activity fees, technology fees, yearbook, or gross receipts tax. Families do purchase their own school supplies and are occasionally asked to pay a small amount for a classroom or school activity.

Optional expenses include hot lunch, milk, summer programs, and extended before and after care.

Families are NOT asked to fund raise at any point during the school year to contribute to the operation of the school.
Annual fund drives, capital campaigns, and wrapping paper sales do not happen at Sunset Mesa. No one will ask you
to name the school as a beneficiary in your will.